Good news, I now have some real spacecraft I can use:http://www.2001-3d-archive.info/
Mark has kindly given me permission to use these excellent models from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I've converted the Orion model by B.J.West, see screenshots. I think you'll agree that it looks very nice.
I had created a new spacecraft category in Aircraft Factory (and tested it with the Super Super Constellation!), so it took just a few minutes to get the Orion into space. Today I'll convert Space Station V. I'll soon have the code to re-create the famous space station sequence in the film - you'll just need to add the Blue Danube!
I encountered *big* problems with the solar system code. Unfortunately it looks like Crytek have reduced the floating point precision of Lua to FP16 (Lua normally uses FP32). Because all initial calculations are done in space coordinates (with the sun at the origin) the x,y values can be very big e.g. 1E11 meters (or 100000000000 meters). In each frame the spacecraft movement has to be addeed. Because this will be *far* smaller than the x value, then the low FP precision causes a big loss of accuracy. The result is jerky movement.
I do have a solution, but it's still partially implemented. However, movement is better, though still far from perfect.
Of course, in many cases (e.g. in orbit around Saturn) apparent movement will be very slow, so you woudn't notice the jerkiness. However, I've added a simulation rate setting (in Properties) so you can speed up movements by, say, 1000 times. But I will need a complete solution for the FP16 problem when approaching space stations or other spacecraft.
Apart from one or two other issues, the solar system code seems to be working reliably now. By increasing the simulation rate I can easily make a quick voyage to the moon. Currently I don't calculate the gravitational forces of the planets, so the spacecraft moves in a straight line. Adding those forces will be pretty easy, so I should have spacecraft following real orbits fairly soon.
There still remains the biggest problem: to allow a natural transition from spaceflight to detailed planetary surfaces. Realistically, it will probably take a few weeks to have a really good working solution. But it is definitely doable, in fact I had a basic working solution a few weeks ago. But I have to update it and make it completely compatible with the new solar system/spaceflight system.
I haven't forgotten the CE3 demo, but it will be a little while yet. In fact, I'd be curious to see how the spaceflight system and the planets work and look in CE3.